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Publication numberUS5090891 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 07/584,805
Publication dateFeb 25, 1992
Filing dateSep 19, 1990
Priority dateJun 26, 1989
Fee statusLapsed
Publication number07584805, 584805, US 5090891 A, US 5090891A, US-A-5090891, US5090891 A, US5090891A
InventorsKlaus H. Hemsath
Original AssigneeIndugas, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hybrid combustion device and system therefor
US 5090891 A
Abstract
A hybrid burner system is disclosed which incorporates features of continuous burners and pulse combustion devices. A combustion chamber is fitted with one-way air inlet valves, an orificed or small sized exhaust outlet valve and a pressurized, gas inlet which is externally actuated in a periodic manner to produce combustion pulses during operation. The combustion pulses generate heat, force the products of combustion from the burner chamber and cause combustion air to periodically enter the chamber in a self-aspirating manner. Combustion occurs silently during the entire time the fuel is externally pulsed because of the way a fuel/air mixture is developed in a chamber which is filled with combustion air prior to fuel introduction. A spark plug electrode-stabilizing rod arrangement insures consistent ignition while a flame front is stabilized and propagated. The burner arrangement is self-contained in a recirculating heat exchange application where a pulse opening is provided at a precise position relative to the heat combustion chamber. A pulse line taps the pressure pulses produced during the burner operation to provide a fairly constant fluid flow for use in a closed-loop system where the burner supplies the heat input to the system.
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Claims(28)
Having thus defined the invention, it is claimed:
1. A pulse combustion type system comprising:
a combustion chamber having a one-way air inlet opening, an exhaust outlet and a fuel inlet;
ignition means in said chamber for igniting a combustible mixture of combustion air and fuel in said chamber;
gas pressurizing means for pressurizing a source of gaseous fuel in fluid communication with said gas inlet;
timing valve means cooperating with said gas pressurizing means for pulsing a metered amount of fuel as a free standing jet during a fixed time period through said fuel inlet whereby said fuel is essentially mixed with said combustion air through entrainment and a portion thereof ignited as it is metered into said combustion chamber past said ignition means and thereafter combusted to produce a pressurized pulse at low noise levels, said timing valve means actuated only after said combustion air has been admitted through said one-way air inlet to substantially fill said combustion chamber; and
said gas inlet including a gas manifold having a plurality of gas orifices for directing a plurality of gas jet streams into said chamber.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein said chamber is generally symmetrical about a longitudinally extending centerline;
said gas orifices radially spaced from and coaxial with said centerline and said gas orifices are nozzles angularly oriented to direct jet streams towards said centerline.
3. The system of claim 1 wherein said exhaust outlet defines an exhaust opening through which products of combustion exit said combustion chamber and said inlet opening defines an inlet area through which combustion air enters into said combustion chamber and orificing means in the form of an orifice in said exhaust opening creating a back pressure in said combustion chamber when the fuel-air mixture is combusted and effective to prevent flue gas from entering said combustion chamber when said combustion air is drawn into said combustion chamber through said air inlet upon cooling of said combustion chamber.
4. A method for generating periodic combustions in a combustion chamber having a one-way combustion air inlet, a restricted exhaust outlet and an externally actuated fuel inlet, said method comprising the steps of:
aspirating combustion air into said chamber during a first, finite period;
thereafter admitting a plurality of jet fuel streams into said chamber during a second timed, finite period;
mixing at a precise fuel/air ratio, igniting and combusting said fuel streams with said combustion air during said second time period to produce combustion with minimal noise;
said jets of fuel travel at about 30,000 fpm to cause entrainment therewith of a fixed portion of air, said air/fuel ratio of the jet stream at the onset of the fuel admission being of a value which produces noiseless ignition when the fuel/air stream is initially ignited at the start of the cycle while resulting in at least stoichiometric mixing to produce thorough combustion of said fuel during the combustion stroke of said cycle;
thereafter beginning the first period by exhausting the products of combustion through said outlet;
commencing said first timed period immediately upon expiration of said second time period whereby steps (a) through (d) are cyclically repeated;
providing a spark electrode and a stabilizing rod adjacent thereto; and
directing said jet streams to impinge one another adjacent said stabilizing rod and said electrode to insure initial ignition of proper proportions of fuel and air.
5. A burner comprising:
a) a combustion chamber having an air inlet, a fuel inlet and an outlet;
b) air inlet valve means permitting one-way combustion air flow into said chamber;
c) exhaust outlet means permitting exhaust gas flow out of said chamber;
d) fuel means for regulating fuel at a generally constant pressure at said fuel inlet;
e) timing valve means providing fluid communication between said chamber and said fuel means during a timed interval sufficient to permit a metered quantity of fuel in no more than stoichiometric proportion to the combustion air volume in said chamber to enter said combustion chamber during said interval;
f) coordinating means assuring that said timing valve means is not actuated until said air inlet valve means is actuated to substantially fill said combustion chamber with combustion air;
g) ignition means effective to initially ignite a portion of said fuel as it enters said combustion chamber and thereafter combust said fuel during said timed interval, and
h) said fuel inlet including a manifold and a plurality of gas nozzles extending from said manifold, said nozzles positioned to direct free standing jet streams of gaseous fuel emanating therefrom towards said igniting means whereby jet entrainment of a plurality of fuel streams and combustion air occur to insure continuous soft combustion during said timed interval when said timing valve means are actuated.
6. The burner of claim 5 wherein said chamber is generally symmetrical about a longitudinally extending centerline;
said gas orifices radially spaced from and coaxial with said centerline and said gas orifices are nozzles angularly oriented to direct jet streams towards said centerline.
7. A method for generating periodic combustions in a combustion chamber having a one-way combustion air inlet, a restricted exhaust outlet and an externally actuated fuel inlet, said method comprising the steps of:
a) aspirating combustion air into said chamber during a first, finite period;
b) thereafter admitting a plurality of free standing jet gas fuel streams into said chamber during a second timed, finite period;
c) mixing by jet entrainment to achieve a precise fuel/air ratio in said gas jet streams, igniting initially a portion of said jet streams followed by combusting said jet streams as said jets continue to mix gas fuel with combustion air during said second time period to produce combustion with minimal noise;
d) thereafter beginning the first period by exhausting the products of combustion through said outlet; and
e) commencing said first timed period immediately upon expiration of said second time period whereby steps (a) through (d) are cyclically repeated.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein said jets of fuel travel at about 30,000 fpm to cause entrainment therewith of a fixed portion of air, said air/fuel ratio of the jet stream at the onset of the fuel admission being of a value which produces noiseless ignition when the fuel/air stream is initially ignited at the start of the cycle while resulting in at least stoichiometric mixing to produce thorough combustion of said fuel during the combustion stroke of said cycle.
9. A pulse combustion type system comprising:
a combustion chamber having a one-way air inlet opening, an exhaust outlet and a fuel inlet;
said chamber being generally symmetrical about a longitudinally extending centerline;
ignition means in said chamber for igniting a combustible mixture of air and fuel in said chamber;
gas pressurizing means for pressurizing a source of fuel in fluid communication with said gas inlet;
timing valve means cooperating with said gas pressurizing means for pulsing a metered amount of fuel during a fixed time period through said fuel inlet whereby said fuel is essentially mixed and combusted simultaneously as it is metered into said combustion chamber to produce a pressurized pulse at low noise levels;
said gas inlet including a gas manifold having a plurality of gas orifices for directing a plurality of gas streams into said chamber;
said gas orifices radially spaced from and coaxial with said centerline and said gas orifices are nozzles angularly oriented to direct jet streams towards said centerline;
said ignition means includes a spark plug electrode extending within said chamber generally adjacent said centerline and a stabilizing rod generally adjacent said electrode; and
said jet nozzles are angularly orientated to direct gas jet streams which intersect one another adjacent said centerline and said stabilizing rod.
10. The pulse combustion system of claim 9 wherein said gas orifices are three in number spaced in equal circumferential increments about said centerline and situated in a longitudinal distance from said stabilizing rod such that the ratio of the longitudinal distance from said gas orifices to said stabilizing rod is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the longitudinal distance from said stabilizing rod to the axial end of said combustion chamber.
11. The pulse combustion system of claim 9 wherein the diameter of said jet nozzles are sized about 0.005 times the distance that said nozzles are spaced from said stabilizing rod.
12. The system of claim 9 wherein said combustion chamber longitudinally extends along a centerline between first and second closed axial ends, said air inlet adjacent said first end and said exhaust outlet adjacent said second end;
said first end defined by an end plate having a plurality of inlet openings circumferentially spaced in approximately equal increments about said centerline;
a one piece reed valve formed of elastic material having a circular hub portion and a plurality of circular appendages extending from said hub portion equal in number to said inlet openings and of a diameter larger than said inlet openings;
means to fasten said hub portion to said end plate so that said appendages lie against and close said inlet openings when said chamber is under pressure.
13. The system of claim 9 wherein said exhaust outlet defines an exhaust area through which products of combustion exit said combustion chamber and said inlet opening defines an inlet area through which combustion air enters into said combustion chamber and orificing means in the form of an orifice in said exhaust area to create a back pressure in said combustion chamber when the fuel-air mixture is combusted and effective to prevent flue gas from entering said combustion chamber when said combustion air is drawn into said combustion chamber through said air inlet.
14. The system of claim 9 wherein said air inlet area is at least ten times greater than said exhaust area.
15. A heat exchange system comprising:
a) a combustion chamber immersed in a container filled with hydronic fluid, said combustion chamber having an outlet extending through said container and vented to atmosphere, an inlet, and spark igniter means extending therein for igniting a combustible mixture of fuel and combustion air;
b) end plate means secured to said inlet of said combustion chamber and having associated therewith one-way inlet valve means for admitting combustion air intermittently into said combustion chamber, and fuel inlet means for admitting gaseous fuel under pressure into said combustion chamber;
c) timing means for periodically admitting a fixed quantity of fuel at a generally constant pressure within a timed interval to said combustion chamber whereby periodic combustion cycles occur therein;
d) exhaust means associated with said combustion chamber's exhaust outlet permitting fluid communication from said combustion chamber to atmosphere;
e) an outlet from said container and a return inlet into said container, a line with one-way valve means for carrying said hydronic fluid from said outlet to said return inlet and at least one heat exchange device in said line for recovering heat from said hydronic fluid;
f) said container further having a pulse inlet and a line from a pulse outlet in said combustion chamber to said pulse inlet for periodically pressurizing and causing pulses of fluid movement from said outlet to said return inlet while combustion cycles are occurring within said combustion chamber, said combustion cycles simultaneously heating said hydronic fluid in said container; and
g) flame supervision means in fluid communication with said pulse line for stopping supply of said fuel should said pulse line become unpressurized for a predetermined time period.
16. The heat exchange system of claim 15 further including a coil within said container connected at one end to said outlet of said combustion chamber and at its other end to said outlet in said container vented to atmosphere; the inside wall diameter of one of said connections or a portion of said coil being reduced whereby a one-way check valve is not required in said exhaust means.
17. The heat exchange system of claim 15 further including
a manifold circumscribing said combustion chamber;
a plurality of first L-shaped tubes within said container, each first tube having a short portion connected to the outlet of said combustion chamber and its long portion connected to said annular manifold;
a second plurality of longer L-shaped tubes within said container, each second tube having its longer leg portion connected to said manifold and its short leg portion connected to said vented atmosphere outlet whereby water vapor produced during said combustion does not interfere with exhaust of the gaseous products of combustion to atmosphere.
18. The heat exchange system of claim 15 further including said fuel inlet of said combustion chamber having a gas manifold and a plurality of gas orifices extending therefrom for directing a like plurality of gas streams into said combustion chamber.
19. The heat exchange system of claim 18 wherein said chamber is generally symmetrical about a longitudinally extending centerline;
said gas orifices are radially spaced from and coaxial with said centerline and said gas orifices are jet nozzles angularly oriented to direct jet streams of fuel towards said centerline.
20. The heat exchange system of claim 19 wherein said ignition means includes a spark plug electrode extending within said chamber generally adjacent said centerline and a stabilizing rod generally adjacent said electrode; and
said jet nozzles are angularly orientated to direct gas jet streams which intersect one another adjacent said centerline and said stabilizing rod.
21. The heat exchange system of claim 20 wherein the diameter of said jet nozzles are sized about 0.005 times the distance that said nozzles are spaced from said stabilizing rod.
22. The heat exchange system of claim 15 wherein said exhaust outlet defines an exhaust area through which products of combustion exit said combustion chamber and said inlet opening defines an inlet area through which combustion air enters into said combustion chamber and orificing means in the form of an orifice in said exhaust area to create a back pressure in said combustion chamber when the fuel-air mixture is combusted and effective to prevent flue gas from entering said combustion chamber when said combustion air is drawn into said combustion chamber through said air inlet.
23. The heat exchange system of claim 22 wherein said air inlet area is at least ten times greater than said exhaust area.
24. A burner comprising:
a) a combustion chamber having an air inlet, a fuel inlet and an outlet, said chamber being generally symmetrical about a longitudinally extending centerline;
b) air inlet valve means permitting one-way combustion air flow into said chamber;
c) exhaust outlet means permitting exhaust gas flow out of said chamber;
d) fuel means for regulating fuel at a generally constant pressure at said fuel inlet;
e) timing valve means providing fluid communication with said chamber during a timed interval sufficient only to permit a metered quantity of fuel in no more than stoichiometric proportion to the combustion air volume in said chamber to enter said combustion chamber during said interval;
f) coordinating means assuring that said timing valve means is not actuated until said air inlet valve means is actuated to substantially fill said combustion chamber with combustion air;
g) ignition means effective to initially combust a portion of said fuel as it enters said combustion chamber and continue said combustion of said fuel during said timed interval,
h) said fuel inlet including a manifold and a plurality of gas nozzles spaced from and coaxial with said centerline and extending from said manifold, said nozzles angularly oriented to direct jet streams of fuel emanating therefrom towards said centerline and igniting means whereby entrainment of a plurality of fuel streams and combustion air occur to insure continuous soft combustion during said timed interval when said timing valve means are actuated;
said ignition means includes a spark plug electrode extending within said chamber generally adjacent said centerline and a stabilizing rod generally adjacent said electrode; and
said jet nozzles are angularly orientated to direct gas jet streams which intersect one another adjacent said centerline and said stabilizing rod.
25. The burner of claim 24 wherein the diameter of said jet nozzles are sized about 0.005 times the distance that said nozzles are spaced from said stabilizing rod.
26. The burner of claim 24 wherein said combustion chamber longitudinally extends along a centerline between first and second closed axial ends, said air inlet adjacent said first end and said exhaust outlet adjacent said second end;
said first end defined by an end plate having a plurality of inlet openings circumferentially spaced in approximately equal increments about said centerline;
a one piece reed valve formed of elastic material having a circular hub portion and a plurality of circular appendages extending from said hub portion equal in number to said inlet openings and of a diameter larger than said inlet openings;
means to fasten said hub portion to said end plate so that said appendages lie against and close said inlet openings when said chamber is under pressure.
27. The burner of claim 24 wherein said exhaust outlet defines an exhaust area through which products of combustion exit said combustion chamber and said inlet opening defines an inlet area through which combustion air enters into said combustion chamber and orificing means in the form of an orifice in said exhaust area to create a back pressure in said combustion chamber when the fuel-air mixture is combusted and effective to prevent flue gas from entering said combustion chamber when said combustion air is drawn into said combustion chamber through said air inlet.
28. The system of claim 24 wherein said air inlet area is at least ten times greater than said exhaust area.
Description

This is a continuation-in-part of my prior application, Ser. No. 371,002 filed June 26, 1989 entitled "Hybrid Combustion Device and System Therefor", now U.S. Pat. No. 4,959,009 granted on or about Sept. 26, 1989 (hereinafter the "present invention").

This invention relates to a burner and a system for use therewith and more particularly to a burner and system having characteristics of both conventional, continuous burners and also pulsed, combustion driven burners, i.e. a hybrid device.

The invention is particularly applicable to low cost, residential or consumer operated heater applications using a gaseous fuel, and will be described with particular reference thereto. However, the invention has broader applications and can be used not only in industrial burner applications for heating, heat treating, etc., with gas, liquid or solid fuel, but also for various industrial applications where the pressure and/or heat production resulting from the pulses produced during the combustion is to be utilized for some particular application, i.e. fluid circulation or recirculation.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional burners, in widespread commercial use today, whether of the residential or commercial type, continuously combust air (oxygen) and fuel. Such burners will be referred to in this specification throughout as "continuous burners". In all such burners, combustion air (or oxygen) and fuel are metered at precise rates into a burner body where the fuel and combustion air is mixed into a combustible mixture and ignited. The combustion is stabilized and a continuous flame is propagated from the stabilization point, the air and fuel being combusted in the flame front. Such conventional burners are consistent and reliable and they are generally quiet. Further, their design, even for highly fuel efficient designs, has developed into widely accepted design principles which are universally followed to yield commercially dependable burners.

Developments in continuous burners have also led to improvements in their turndown ratio. Because turndown ratio can be expressed in different ways, as used herein, "turndown ratio" means the ability of the burner to vary its total heat output over a fixed period of time. In this area development work continues since it is desirable to produce a burner which can maintain stoichiometric to "lean" combustion over a wide turndown radio. In conventional continuous burner design, turndown is accomplished by varying the rate at which combustion air and fuel are fed into the burner, but not the ratio therebetween which is fixed. Depending on the burner design there is an upper and lower mass flow rate at which combustion can no longer be regularly sustained and this determined the turndown ratio for any particular burner. Another turndown approach which has gained commercial acceptance is referred to as pulsed combustion which will be described below. In pulsed combustion, the fuel and air to the burner are periodically regulated to be on-off in variable cycles (usually controlled by microprocessors) and in this manner the total heat output over a given period of time can be regulated. Continuous burners have typical turndown ratios of 3:1 to 6:1 and in some instances have gone as high as 10:1.

In spite of their widespread use, continuous burners have limitations. The turndown ratio, even in pulsed combustion, is limited. Complete combustion is always a problem and even with so-called stoichiometric continuous burners, certain pollutants such as nitrous oxide emissions exist at a level higher than that which would theoretically exist if the combustion were instantaneous for a fixed volume of fuel and air. Inherently, both the gas and air supplied to the burner must be pressurized. Also, a conventional, continuous burner is capable of only heating the work or the environment, although in some heat treat applications the combustion air in the burner may be used to cool the work if the fuel is turned off.

An alternative to continuous combustion is a process known as pulse combustion. Pulse combustion is an old technology. One of the best known examples of a pulse combustor is the German V-1 "Buzz Bomb" used in World War II. A more recent example of a pulse combustor is the recently developed Lennox space heater which is operated as an acoustic Helmholtz resonator. The pulse combustion principle is illustrated in FIGS. 1A-1D.

In FIG. 1A, the start-up of the cycle is illustrated. Combustion air 1 and fuel 2 are introduced simultaneously through a pair of flapper valves which function as one-way pressure sensitive check valves. These reactants are mixed in the combustion chamber and initially ignited by a spark plug 5. A rapid combustion (FIG. 1B) results which produces a pressure surge that advances upstream to slam shut the inlet valves and block off the entrance preventing further fuel and combustion air from entering the combustion chamber. At the same time, a pressure pulse 6 travels downstream to produce a surge of the products of combustion out of the exhaust duct as shown in FIG. 1B. When the products of combustion are discharged from the combustion chamber, the pressure in the chamber tends to drop. Inertia causes the products of combustion in the exhaust duct to continue to flow through the discharge duct even after the explosion pressure in the combustion chamber has been dissipated. Conventional, accepted thinking is that the wave motion or pulse of the products of combustion drops the pressure in the combustion chamber below atmosphere with the result that the inlet flapper valves open causing a further mixture of air and fuel to enter the chamber as shown in FIG. 1C. The cycle is then repeated. It is also known that the mixture in FIG. 1C can be ignited from the hot gas residue of the previous cycle causing the process to be self-sustaining. The process is usually driven acoustically typically at the resonance frequency.

There are several different pulse combustor designs which all operate on the same underlying principle, i.e. the periodic addition of fuel and air must be in phase with the periodic pressure oscillations. In the literature, the pulse combustors are generally identified as the quarter wave or Schmidt tube, the Rijke tube and the Helmholtz resonator. Referring to FIG. 1A, the Lennox space heater operates as an acoustic Helmholtz resonator with its small neck replaced by a tailpipe. The German V-1 "Buzz Bomb" operated as a quarter wave tube in that the tailpipe as shown in FIG. 1A was shaped as an exhaust duct with combustion occurring at a distance x=length/4 which generated a thrust harnessed for propulsion. The Rijke tube is similar to the quarter wave or Schmidt tube and comprises a vertical tube open at both ends which contains a heat source in the center of its lower half, that is at x=length/4. The Rijke combustor is generally used with liquid fuel because the upward flow of heat from the heat source can be utilized to volatilize the fuel to produce the combustion at the desired location. There have been countless design variations. Generally, combustion air may be premixed with the fuel and/or fuel premixed with the air and/or a premixing chamber utilized in conjunction with the combustion chamber. Principally, gaseous fuel can be 1) premixed with entering air; 2)fed continuously to the combustion chamber; 3) supplied from a plenum through a separate aerodynamic valve; or 4) supplied from a tuned chamber. In all pulse combustors, the fuel and air quantities are mixed and then brought, more or less as a total mixture, into an explosive ignition which produces the noise associated with the devices, and generates the pulsed pressure waves which control the fuel and air combustion. Typically, flapper valves as shown in FIGS. 1a-1c simultaneously admit and mix the fuel and air as they are drawn into the combustion chamber. In the tube arrangements discussed, the air may be drawn into the tube vis-a-vis a flapper valve while the fuel is emitted downstream in the tube. The fuel and air mix as they travel further downstream to the point where the total mixture is explosively ignited and this ignition/combustion produces the noise and shock typically associated with pulse combustion.

As thus defined, pulse combustors are generally recognized to have certain advantages over the steady state combustion employed in continuous burners used in most boilers and furnaces. The advantages include:

a) Because of the sudden combustion, pulse combustors are believed to have combustion intensities that are up to an order to a magnitude higher than conventional burners.

b) Pulse combustors are generally believed to have heat transfer rates that are a factor of two to three times higher than continuous burners. This results because in most pulse combustors, the combustion occurs near the closed end of a tube where inlet valves operate in phase with pressure amplitude variations to produce localized temperature and pressure oscillations around a means value. More specifically, it is known that flow oscillations can significantly increase heat transfer over a steady turbulent flow and the oscillations, if large enough, can in themselves create additional turbulence increasing heat transfer. This means that more heat can be removed with a smaller more compact heat exchanger thus decreasing the overall cost of a furnace or heater.

c) Because of the suddenness of the combustion, it is generally believed that nitrous oxide emissions are reduced or lowered by as high a factor as three.

d) Finally, pulse combustors are inherently self-aspirating since the combustor generates a pressure boost. This obviates the need for a blower and also permits the use of a compact heat exchanger that may include a condensing section which obviates the need for chimney or a draft, an important consideration in many applications.

While the advantages of pulse combustion when compared to conventional steady state combustion devices are significant, there are serious disadvantages associated with pulse combustion which has heretofore prevented their wide scale commercial acceptance. The disadvantages include:

i) All pulse combustion systems produce objectionable noise whether the systems are acoustically driven or otherwise. This is inherent because the combustible mixture is formed from the complete charge which produces an explosive ignition. A typical approach which is followed to mute the noise is a system using pairs of pulsed combustors which must be operated in phase at or near resonance so that the pressure or noise from one unit cancels the noise or pressure pulse of the other. The pressure or noise is not eliminated and along with the noise is shock resulting from the explosion. The chamber and tailpipe have to be designed to withstand the shock.

ii) The second principal defect present in current pulse combustors is the fact that they posses little if any turndown ratios. For example, acoustically driven pulse combustors operate at one combustion speed, the resonance frequency. As noted above, all pulse combustors are operated in self-sustaining phase such that the fuel and air is admitted in periodic phase relationship with the pressure oscillations resulting from the explosion of the air and fuel. This means that the entire arrangement has to simply be operated on/off to achieve turndown. Any attempt to achieve turndown by varying the charge of fuel plays havoc with the interaction of combustion chamber geometry and combustion oscillations which are precisely configured to insure sudden combustion at a fixed volume of fuel and combustion air.

iii) Finally, and notwithstanding the commercial success of certain prior art pulse combustion systems such as the Lennox system, there is in general a reliability or consistency problem affecting prior art pulse combustion systems. As noted, the success of any pulse combustion system is critically dependent on the geometry of the combustion cavity and this geometry is presently determined by trial and error to produce a specific combustor geometry for a specific application which is characterized by a narrow turndown ratio and some form of attachment to mute the noise resulting from ignition explosion. For example, besides considerations relating to combustion chamber geometry, the tailpipe is sized relative to the exhaust opening to create a back pressure. If the exhaust opening is very small, such as approaching that of an orifice, the noise resulting from the combustion explosion increases, etc. Thus, the tailpipe back pressure plus exhaust opening must be considered in the design, etc. The design parameters which permit consistently reliable pulse combustion burners to be built have not been developed.

Within the patent publication art, UK Patent 1,040,478 discloses a pulsating type combustion apparatus which at first glance, appears to be similar to the present invention in that reed valves are employed in the device and the fuel admittance can be optionally timed. However, the pulse cycle is controlled so that a fuel-air combustible mixture is introduced into the combustion chamber and ignited in the same manner as that of the pulse combustors described above. An explosive noise is then generated when the explosive mixture is ignited. Again, it is known to pulsate the fuel supply to a pulse combustion device, such as illustrated in UK patent 1,432,344 l(as well as UK patent 1,040,478), but a combustible mixture is initially introduced into the combustion chamber where it is exploded to produce the pulse from which the process is named.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide a hybrid pulse type burner and system which retains and combines, to some extend, the advantages of conventional prior art pulse burners with those of continuous burners to provide a new improved burner along with systems which take advantage of the new burner's features.

THE PARENT INVENTION

This is achieved in a device which includes conventionally a combustion chamber having a one-way air inlet permitting combustion air to enter the combustion chamber but preventing any of the contents of the chamber from being exhausted through the inlet. Similarly, a one-way exhaust opening is provided which permits the contents of the combustion chamber to be exhausted through the exhaust opening but prevents ambient atmosphere from communicating with the combustion chamber. A fuel inlet is also provided as well as an ignitor and stabilizer. A timer or timing arrangement externally drives the burner in a predetermined but variable sequence which comprises a first predetermined interval whereat combustion air is admitted into the combustion chamber and a second predetermined interval during which a fixed quantity of fuel is injected into the combustion chamber. During the second timed interval, the fuel is mixed, ignited and combusted. More specifically, while the fuel is introduced into the combustion chamber, it begins mixing with the combustion air inside the chamber to form a combustible mixture which is ignited while still in formation to initiate a soft ignition, i.e. one which results in a soft pressure pulse which can be made virtually noiseless, in contrast to the sharp, loud noise of an explosion characteristic of prior art pulse combustors. The combustion and soft ignition continues throughout the entire second time interval as long as fuel is admitted and shortly thereafter. At the same time, the combustion process, even though occurring over a finite measured time interval, nevertheless produces a fast rise in temperature and pressure sufficient to create a forceful pressure pulse which can be harnessed and used to increase heat transfer, lower NOx emission and induce self-aspiration in a manner not dissimilar to that of prior art pulse combustion systems.

In accordance with another important feature of the invention, the timing of the intervals can be varied while the burner is in operation to provide a wide turndown ratio. Preferably, the first time interval can be varied from a minimum time period which is the time it takes, dependent upon inlet valve design, to fill the combustion chamber with combustion air to a maximum time period which can, in theory, be any time period to produce turndown ratios not capable of being achieved even by continuous burners. Further, the inlet valve design is such to permit self-aspiration of all the combustion air required to fill the combustion chamber without need of external blowers. Alternatively, it is possible to vary the second time interval to produce a smaller heat output per pulse resulting in essentially a fuel lean operation versus the close to stoichiometric operation which should be attempted at the maximum length of the second time interval. Therefore, the new device can be operated over a wide range of fuel input rates which convincingly shows that the combustion process is not particularly sensitive to combustion chamber geometry, at least to the extent of pulse combustion burners.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, consistency and reliability of operation is achieved by sensitizing the design through the air fuel timing arrangement which can be easily achieved with conventional, state of the art timing devices and simple circuits. The combustor geometry is not critical to the operation of the system in the sense that geometry is critical to prior art pulse combustion systems and, thus, a wide variety of combustion chamber designs and geometries is permissible. In addition, because of the independently timed nature of the device, a fuel inlet one-way valve, used on a number of Helmholtz resonators is not required.

In accordance with a more specific feature of the invention, a particular burner design configuration is shown and the dimensional relationship and ratios are disclosed for several burner characteristics in the detailed specifications which permit the burner to operate at optimum efficiency in a consistently reliable manner. Apart from the dimensional relationships, the orientation of a spark plug electrode and a self-stabilizing rod within the burner, as described further herein, was found to produce a "soft", almost inaudible ignition of the fuel and gas in a consistently repeatable, reliable manner. This arrangement besides generating a spark for ignition also stabilizes the combustion of the air and fuel permitting a steady and consistent flame front to be propagated at the stabilizing rod despite any system variations that inevitably occur which affects gas pressure or on time. The dimensional relationships, the use of a stabilizing rod which serves as a source of ignition, and the combustion thereof are all features of the burner which provide a low noise, consistent and reliable device.

In accordance with a still more specific feature of the invention, a uniquely developed system using certain advantages of the hybrid burner is disclosed in the detailed specifications. The system, suitable for installation and use by the general public avoids any need of a chimney draft to sustain combustion, or the requirement of a chimney to vent the products of combustion. Additionally, the system acts during combustion as a pump for providing whatever work may be required either as a part of the system to which the burner is attached or as a separate source of power for driving an auxiliary device.

Specifically, the burner is modified to provide a pulse opening therethrough rearward of the burner's ignition point. In each combustion cycle, a pressure pulse is pushed through the pulse opening twice. This occurs during combustion when the combustible gas and combustion air are ignited and combusted (the combustible stroke), to develop a forceful pressure pulse (i.e. the exhaust stroke) and also when combustion air is drawn into the combustion chamber during self-aspiration of the burner (i.e. the intake stroke). The rapidity of the pulses through the pulse opening provides a surprisingly high mass flow at a significant pressure. A simple inlet and outlet stand pipe arrangement is then provided in a closed loop, hydronic fluid system which may be heated by the burner to dampen any sudden pressure surges which otherwise may be imparted to the system. Finally, the burner when supplied as a system is provided with a casing surrounding its inlet end and a single fitting containing an air line with a gas line inside the air line is the only contact between ambient atmosphere and burner (apart from the exhaust line which is vented) so that the burner is completely self-contained and explosion-proof.

THE PRESENT INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, the device, system and method of the parent invention is improved in several respects as follows:

1) The fuel inlet is arranged as a manifold with a plurality of jets spaced radially outwardly from the longitudinal center of the chamber and directed towards the stabilizing rod to insure or improve the "soft" ignition or muted "explosion" characteristics of the device while enabling the device to be built as a compact unit with a minimal combustion chamber length and at the same time maintaining or improving the thorough combustion characteristics of the burner. In accordance with a more specific aspect of this feature of the invention, the design is optimized by employing a plurality of relatively small, high speed jet streams which are angularly orientated to intersect the longitudinal centerline of the combustion chamber adjacent the stabilizing rod and spark electrode.

2) An elastic one-piece reed valve formed of silicon rubber having a plurality of circular appendages extending from a circular hub abuts against the combustion chamber's axial end plate which has circular air inlet openings such that the appendages can instantaneously seal the openings when back pressure is created during combustion while quickly admitting combustion air into the combustion chamber upon completion of the combustion cycle step. The configuration of the valve in combination with its composition provides a simple and effective sealing arrangement which is extremely fast in its response time and materially enhances the efficiency of the device from an overall cycle point of view.

3) In combination with the feature of Paragraph 2, an orifice is placed in the exhaust opening or the exhaust opening of the chamber is significantly reduced in size and the one-way valve in the parent invention is eliminated. The exhaust orifice reduces the exhaust opening of the combustion chamber to a small area when compared to the inlet area opening to insure that combustion air and not flue products will fill the chamber during the suction stroke of the cycle while, because of its size, permitting the creation of a large back pressure within the chamber during the combustion stroke, thus enhancing the overall operation of the cycle while simplifying the arrangement. At the same time, the driven pulsation characteristics of the invention coupled with the unique combustion over a timed interval permits a small orifice opening to be used to generate a forceful pressure pulse with minimal noise.

4) In accordance with improved heat transfer aspect of the invention, an annular or torroidal manifold is provided and at least two L-shaped tubes within the container are connected with short leg portions to the exhaust outlet of the combustion chamber and long leg portions to the manifold. At least two second longer L-shaped tubes or coils are connected to the arrangement such that the longer length leg portions are connected to the annular manifold and the short leg portions are connected to the outlet of the container. When the pulse combustion type burner is operated, water vapor is inherently produced as a product of combustion and upon initial application of the burner the water vapor will condense to water potentially blocking the exhaust until such time as the heat from the burner about the exhaust exceeds the dew point (130° F.). Accordingly, by providing at least one and preferably a plurality of short and long L-shaped tubes, a reservoir resides in the lower legs and bottom portion of the manifold to collect the condensed water vapor while permitting the remaining flue gases to be freely exhausted through the other leg.

5) In accordance with another system aspect of the invention, the pulse line is tapped by a pressure sensing device which in turn is connected either directly or indirectly through the valve timing arrangement to the fuel shut-off whereby the burner flame can be monitored or supervised to permit automatic shut-off of the burner in compliance with safety regulations without the need for using more complicated standard flame supervision systems.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to develop method and apparatus for a pulse combustion type system which has little or no noise in operation and does not require mufflers or other arrangements for muting noise produced during ignition of the combustible mixture.

It is another object of the present invention to provide method and apparatus for a burner which has a wide turndown ratio.

It is another object of the invention to utilize steady state, conventional burner principles to produce a pulsed flame type combustion system which combines the most desirable characteristics of prior art pulse combustion systems and continuous burner type systems.

It is another object of the invention to produce a pulse combustion type system which emulates prior art pulse combustion systems as defined in the background hereof.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a pulse combustion system which operates in a consistent and reliable manner.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a pulse combustion system which has simple design criteria to permit the system to be reproduced by others without extensive trial and error experimentation.

It is another object of the invention to supply a combustion device which is particularly adaptable to rather small heat inputs and which can be used in applications where small heat inputs are required on an intermittent basis.

Yet another object of the invention is to produce a pulse combustion system which has fewer and less costly parts than prior art systems.

Still yet another object of the invention is to provide a system which generates a sequence of intermittent combustion in a burner which when compared to conventional burners possesses any or all of the following features:

a) self-aspiration of combustion air obviating need for combustion air blower,

b) reduced NOx emissions,

c) higher heat transfer performance,

d) fuel savings, and

e) chimney or draft device elimination.

It is still yet another object of the invention to provide a pulse combustion system which can be constructed with a small amount of relatively inexpensive components to produce an inexpensive system ideally suited for residential applications requiring only a small amount of low voltage electric power to operate.

Still yet another object of the invention is to produce a combustion system which is operable as a heat pump.

Still another object of the device is to provide a hybrid type burner and system suitable for use in residential heating and/or cooling applications and in other similar applications such as RV vehicles or marine applications.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a closed loop, hydronic fluid, heat exchange system for use with a device which provides a series of pressure pulses.

Still yet another object is to provide an external fluid system, closed loop or otherwise, where the fluid is driven by the burner at a fairly constant mass flow.

Still yet another aspect of the invention is to produce a pulse type combustion burner which is capable of thorough combustion of the fuel/air mixture combusted during its operating cycle.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the following description taken together with the drawings which will be described in the next section.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangement of parts, a preferred embodiment of which will be described in detail and illustrated in the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and wherein:

FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D schematically illustrate the operation of prior art pulse combustion devices and are identical to that shown in the parent invention;

FIG. 2 is an end view of my hybrid burner and is identical to that shown in the parent invention;

FIG. 3 is an elevation view, partly in section, of my hybrid burner taken along lines 3--3 of FIG. 2 and is identical to that shown in the parent invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of a side elevation view of a hybrid burner of my invention incorporating the fundamental components needed to make the device function in the system and is identical to that shown in the parent invention;

FIG. 4A is a schematic illustration similar to that shown in FIG. 4 of a hybrid burner of the present invention;

FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C are graphs illustrating various periodic pulses at which my hybrid burner can be operated and is identical to that shown in the parent invention;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view, partially in section, schematically illustrating the hybrid burner of the present invention and its use in a unique system, specifically suited for a marine application and is somewhat similar to FIG. 6 of the parent invention;

FIG. 7 is a view somewhat similar to FIGS. 3 and 6 showing the burner of the present invention with an improved exhaust coil;

FIG. 8 is an end view of the gas distributor of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an elevation view of the gas distributor taken along lines 9--9 of FIG. 8 and positioned relative to the spark electrode and stabilizing rod;

FIG. 10 is an end view of the reed valve of the present invention; and

FIG. 11 is a graph of the pressure pulses produced by my burner for a given timed cycle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for the purpose of illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention only and not for the purpose of limiting the same, FIGS. 2 and 3 show a burner 10 of the present invention which is shown in FIG. 3 to be connected to a heat exchanger 12 which comprises essentially a series of spiral coils 13. Heat exchanger 12 is not part of burner 10 but is shown in FIG. 3 attached to burner 10 to illustrate what the inventive arrangement would look like if it were applied in a residential hot water heater. That is, burner 10 with heat exchanger 12 would simply be dropped into a conventional water jacket casing and the outlet 15 of heat exchanger 12 would be vented to atmosphere probably through an existing chimney although any vent to the outside could be used. (As will be discussed later, only a fuel inlet is required. The draft from the chimney is not needed to sustain combustion in burner 10, nor are any auxiliary fans or blowers.) At outlet 15 is shown a flapper valve 16 which functions as a one-way check valve. Whether or not a one-way check valve like flapper valve 16 is required, depends upon the back pressure resistance produced by heat exchanger 12 relative to burner 10 which in turn is a function of heat exchanger length including number of coils 13 and this in turn is correlated to burner size, tank capacity, etc. If the back pressure produced by heat exchanger 12 is high enough, a one-way check valve like flapper valve 16 is not needed because the resistance created by heat exchanger 12 will act as a one-way valve.

Burner 10 is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 to comprise a simple three-piece construction which includes a combustion chamber 18, a feed chamber 19 abutting one end of combustion chamber 18 and an end plate 20 closing the opposite end of feed chamber 19. Theoretically, combustion chamber 18 could be any tubular shape. Preferably, combustion chamber 18 is cylindrical having an open axial inlet end 22 and a closed outlet end 23 at its opposite end. An outlet 25 is provided in outlet end 23. Generally outlet 25 is circular in configuration and in the arrangement shown in FIG. 3, outlet 25 is centered on longitudinal centerline 26 of burner 10. It is not necessary to position outlet 25 in the center of outlet end 23 for burner 10 to operate or operate efficiently. Theoretically, burner 10 will operate if outlet 25 were placed in the cylindrical portion of combustion chamber 18. However, for cycle stability and efficiency, it is desirable to place outlet 25 in the closed outlet end 23. A flange 28 is provided at inlet end 22 and permits burner 10 to be mounted to the casing of whatever device burner 10 is to heat.

Feed chamber 19 is preferably cylindrically shaped with a flange 29 at its outlet which abuts flange 28 and is secured thereto by appropriate fasteners 30 which compress a seal (not shown) therebetween to make the joint airtight. The inlet end of feed chamber 19 is annularly shaped as at 32 from which a recessed flange 33 depends radially inwardly. Bolted to recessed flange 33 as by cap screws 35 is end plate 20 and a gasket 36 is provided between end plate 20 and annular shaped surface 32 to insure a gas-tight joint. The orientation of feed chamber 19 relative to combustion chamber 18 is such that the longitudinal centerline of feed chamber 19 is coaxial with longitudinal centerline 26 of combustion chamber 18.

End plate 20 as best shown in FIG. 2 has a plurality of combustion air openings 38, there being five such openings for the burner shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Combustion air openings 38 are preferably circular in shape with the center of each combustion air opening 38 positioned on the circumference of an imaginary circle of a predetermined diameter struck from the center point of end plate 20. Formed between recessed flange 33 and end plate 20 is an annular chamber 39 and reeds 40 secured as by machine screws 41 to the inside surface of end plate 20 extend from annular chamber 39 to cover combustion air openings 38. The mounting arrangement described and the size of reeds 40 is such that each reed normally extends over and covers combustion air openings 38. Reeds 40 prevent communication of air with the interior of feed chamber 19 when a pressure is developed within combustion chamber 18 (and likewise feed chamber 19) which is greater than the ambient atmosphere. Because reeds 40 are flexible, they will not effect an airtight seal when burner 10 is at rest. Upon a suction or a drop in pressure within feed chamber 19 relative to the ambient air pressure, each reed will flex because of the space permitted in annular chamber 39 to uncover and permit direction communication between combustion air openings 38 and the interior of feed chamber 19 in combustion chamber 18 so that combustion air can be rapidly drawn into the chamber. Similarly, upon a buildup of pressure within combustion chamber 18 and feed chamber 19, reeds 40 will be biased against end plate 20 to seal combustion air openings 38. Other one-way mechanical valve arrangements as well as, in theory, aerodynamically valved arrangements, known to those skilled in the art can be employed. However, flapper type valves and particularly reed valves are simple, economical and reliable and for the frequencies employed, are preferred. For instance, the reed valves used in a prototype design built for residential home hot water heating applications were purchased from Sears, Roebuck and Co. The reed valves worked fine.

Referring now to FIG. 10, there is shown an alternative reed-type, daisy-shaped valve 200 of the present invention which provides faster response time and a better seal than that shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Daisy valve 200 may be formed of any elastomeric material but preferably is formed from a relatively thin sheet (3/16") of silicon rubber. Daisy valve 200 has a central, circular shaped hub portion 201 from which radially outwardly extends a plurality of circular appendages 202. Circular appendages 202 are circumferentially spaced in equal increments about an imaginary air inlet circle shown as dot-dash line 203 in FIG. 10 which is concentric with hub 201. Each appendage 202 is connected to hub 201 by a throat portion 204. The number of appendages 202 (shown as nine in number in FIG. 10) corresponds to the number of air openings 38 (shown in FIG. 2) in end plate 20 and appendages 202 overlie air openings 38. Daisy valve 202 has a central gas tube opening 206 for gas tube 52 and is secured to end plate 20 by fasteners (not shown) extending through fastening openings 207. As schematically shown in FIG. 7, end plate 20 is secured to flange 210 which unlike flange 33 shown in FIG. 3 is not recessed.

The juncture of flange 29 with the cylindrical section of feed chamber 19 is thickened to provide a threaded opening 43 for a spark plug 44 which has an electrode 45 which extends at a precise geometric relationship into combustion chamber 18 and more specifically extends to a point just short of longitudinal centerline 26 to form an acute angle therewith as shown in FIG. 3 of approximately 45°. Similarly on the opposite side of and at the juncture between the cylindrical section of feed chamber 19 and flange 29 is another threaded opening 47 into which is inserted a stabilizing rod 48. Stabilizing rod 48, as in the case of electrode 45, extends into combustion chamber 18 in a precise geometric relationship to a point positioned on longitudinal centerline 26 and to form with centerline 26 an acute angle as shown in FIG. 3 of approximately 45°. As shown in FIG. 2, stabilizing rod 48 extends 180° opposite that of electrode 45 while stabilizing rod 48 and electrode 45 form a 90° included angle when viewed in FIG. 3, i.e. in a plane which is orthogonal to the plane of FIG. 2. While burner 10 could operate with spark plug 44 at different positions in combustion chamber 18 and with or without an electrode 45 which extends almost to longitudinal centerline 26, or alternatively with an electrode 45 which has a grounding rod extending from spark plug 44, it has been discovered that causing electrode 45 to spark or ground against stabilizing rod 48 produces a very stable flame propagation point and surprisingly reduces the noise resulting from ignition when the burner is operative to be almost inaudible to the human ear, at least no more than a low whisper. (Estimated decibel range would be about 60 to 70.) Specifically, through the development of various prototypes, it was determined that it was possible to operate burner 10 as a periodic combustion device in the manner to be discussed with a number of spark plug positions and various stabilization zones within combustion chamber 18. In all instances combustion pulses generated very low noise levels. However, when the fuel input and/or cycle time was varied, noise could increase or burner stability could become a problem. For example, with some earlier designs, water vapor would condense and interfere with firing when the burner was mounted horizontally. With the electrode 45-stabilizing rod 48 arrangement disclosed, burner operation became very stable, practically insistive to the off time of the fuel, capable of sustaining periodic combustion with a very "lean" fuel mixture, and most surprising of all, resulted in almost noiseless ignition. Thus, stabilizing rod 48 functions as a ground for electrode 45 so that a spark jumps the gap therebetween and then also functions as the stabilization point for the burner in that the burner flame develops and propagates from that point through combustion chamber 18.

A threaded opening 50 is provided at the center of end plate 20 and a coupling 51 threaded therein. Coupling 51 supports a gas tube 52 which extends into feed chamber 19 and has an orifice outlet 53 which is positioned at a predetermined distance from the intersection point of electrode 45 with stabilizing rod 48.

Referring next to FIGS. 7, 8 and 9, there is shown a spider gas distributor 220 which replaces single orifice outlet 53 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Gas distributor 220 has a longitudinally extending manifold 221 which is threaded at 222 for connection to gas tube 52. Manifold 221 has a central passageway 223 in fluid communication with gas tube 52 and central passageway 223 in turn feeds a plurality of orifice passageways 224 (three in number as shown in FIG. 8) which radially extend in equal circumferential increments from central passageway 223. A plurality (three in number) of spider nozzles 225 are threadedly secured to manifold 221 and each nozzle 225 has a jet passageway 227 in fluid communication with an orifice passageway 224. At the end of each jet passageway 227 remote from manifold 221 is an orifice opening 228 which extends through spider nozzle 225 at an angle relative to central passageway 223 and longitudinal centerline 26 of combustion chamber 18. The angle of orifice opening 228 is shown by dot-dash line 229 in FIG. 9 which for the burner 10 shown is 13°. The intersection point 230 of dot-dash line 229 with longitudinal centerline 26 is the point where stabilizing rod 48 and spark plug electrode 45 intersect one another. For burner 10 illustrated in FIG. 9, orifice opening 228 is drilled at the angle mentioned with a #66 drill (0.0330") and is smaller than jet passageway 227, orifice passageway 224 and central passageway 223 so that a jet stream of fuel at velocities hereinafter described leave orifice opening 228. As hereinafter explained, the size of orifice opening 228, its angle and the distance it is spaced from intersection point 230 are critical to the thoroughness or extent of the combustion of the gas/air mixture, the sizing of the combustion chamber and the noise level produced by the combustion.

Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown in schematic form a burner 10 which illustrates the principal components of the invention, namely a combustion chamber 18 (feed chamber and end plate 19, 20, respectively, conceptually incorporated into combustion chamber 18, superfluous), a gas orifice 53, an inlet valve 40 (heretofore designated as reeds 40 and combustion air openings 38), an exhaust outlet 25 (and in combination therewith a one-way flapper valve 16) and an igniter or spark plug 44 which preferably takes the form of electrode 45 and stabilizing rod 48. While combustion chamber 18 can assume any number of configurations, one of the objects of the invention is to establish burner design parameters and this is done with respect to the simplest combustion chamber shape which is a cylinder. The key dimensions of burner 10 are designed as length dimensions or diameter dimensions in FIG. 4 and have been determined in the operation of a satisfactory prototype to be about the values specified in the tabular form below:

______________________________________CYLINDRICAL BURNERDIMENSIONAL DATA               Width DimensionsLength Dimensions   (Diameters)______________________________________L1 = 12 in.    D1 = 3.5 inchesL2 = 3 in.     D2 = 0.5 inchL3 = .5 in.    D3 = 0.5 inch               D4 = 3/64 inch               D5 = 1.5 inches______________________________________Volume & Area ConsiderationsVolume of Combustion Chamber = 115 in3Area of Exhaust = 0.2 in2Area of Intake = 1 in2Gas Orifice Size = 3/64 @ Gas Pressure = 2 to 64 inches______________________________________W.C.

To some extent, all the dimensional relationships are interdependent and somewhat linear for size scaling purposes. However, some relationships are more critical than others. For example, the air inlet size is not especially critical so long as it provides a sufficient volume of combustion air to combustion chamber 18 within the "off time" as explained hereafter. The area of the exhaust opening 25 obviously must be small enough to create the pressure pulse but once the pulse is created, it is not especially critical to further reduce the area to increase pulse intensity. It has, however, been determined that, given a sufficient volume of gas and a mixing pressure, the ratio between the diameter of gas nozzle D4 and the distance from the point of ignition, i.e. stabilizing rod 48, to the exhaust opening 25 must be between 175 and 250 to 1 to sustain consistent repeatable ignition and combustion. Also, the distance from the gas nozzle to the ignition point is a function of nozzle diameter and combustion chamber size and has a bearing on ignition and flame front propagation.

More particularly, FIG. 4 besides illustrating the dimensional relationships of the burner also illustrates the essential elements of what is needed to make burner 10, per se, operate. All that is basically needed is a source of gas 60 under constant pressure via regulator 61, ported through a valve 62 which is controlled in its on/off or open/closed position by any conventional timing device or circuit, obviously a low voltage device being preferred. In FIG. 4, two low voltage variable solenoids 64, 65 are shown to control valve 62. One solenoid, say solenoid 64, variably controls the on time of valve 62 while the other solenoid 65 variably controls the off time of valve 62. In commercial arrangements, only one solenoid which will vary the off time of valve 62 will be used. In any event, valve 62 is connected to gas tube 52 and the gas is pulsed into combustion chamber 18. Specifically, the size of nozzle orifice 53 and gas line pressure is such to cause the gaseous fuel to be emitted from nozzle 53 as a free-standing jet which will expand as a cone in combustion chamber 18. The velocity or intensity of the jet is sized relative to the size and shape of combustion chamber 18 to cause the fuel to be entrained in the stationary combustion air. As the jet travels past the ignition point, it continues to entrain and mix the combustion air with the gaseous fuel causing propagation of the flame front until the jet becomes spent. To keep the arrangement simple, the jet is sized not to impinge the cylindrical walls of combustion chamber 18 before it is spent. The jet is also positioned so that its center passes through the spark generated between electrode 45 and stabilizing rod 48. In the prototype model discussed above, the source of gas was propane supplied from a conventional 20 lb. bottle through a conventional regulator at a pressure of 4.5 lbs/in2 max.

Referring next to FIGS. 4A and 9, one of the features of the present invention is the use of spider gas distributor 220 in place of the single gas jet orifice 53 of the present invention. In FIG. 4A (and FIGS. 6 and 7), gas distributor 220 is orientated to show two of the three nozzles 225 for diagrammatic purposes. The flame envelope 240 illustrated in FIG. 4A is significantly shorter and more compact than that illustrated in FIG. 4 for reasons which will be explained in greater detail in the Burner Operation portion of the specification. The present invention resulted in part, from investigations of the distance relationships from gas distributor to ignition point which, as noted in the parent invention, affected ignition and flame front propagation. It was determined that the distance from orifice opening 228 to the ignition point 230 (in turn correlated to the mass flow and speed of the jet stream) had a marked effect on the thoroughness of the combustion (i.e. sub-stoichiometric, stoichiometric or rich), the noise level produced (various decibels of "softness"), to some extent the pressure of the pulse, etc. In a burner constructed in accordance with the principles of FIGS. 4A, 8 and 9, a length shown as L5 in FIG. 9 of 6 17/32" at an orifice angular relationship 13° with an orifice opening 228 of 0.033" established near optimum conditions. Thus, the diameter D4 of orifice opening 228 relative to the L3 distance (i.e. line 229 which is approximately 6.70") establishes a critical nozzle ratio D4 /L3 of 0.0049 believed to be about 0.005 and within the range of 0.0045 to 0.0055.

In conjunction with the investigations into the parameter affecting the combustion stroke of the cycle, it was also determined that a one-way exhaust valve was not needed, a small exhaust opening or exhaust orifice 245 was used, and more importantly, that the pulse intensity could be regulated without adversely affecting the suction stroke of the cycle provided that the total air inlet opening relative to exhaust size opening was maintained relatively large, at a ratio higher than at least 10 to 1 and in the preferred embodiment 45 to 1. That is, the air inlet opening(s) into combustion chamber 18 must have an area at least 10 times greater than the area of exhaust opening 25. In typical prior art pulse combustion devices, the exhaust area is much larger although the tube length acts as a resonator to create a back pressure which back pressure is not believed anywhere near that of the present invention. This is believed inherent in the operation of prior art pulse combustors because they are operated at high resonance frequencies and should the outlet become unduly restricted, the frequency will be adversely affected. In contrast, in the present invention the pulse, in the first instance, is force driven and, in the second instance, the peculiar unique way in which ignition and combustion occur assures the completion of the combustion stroke so that a restriction creating a high back pressure can be used.

BURNER OPERATION

Burner 10 operates somewhat similar to continuous burners and somewhat similar to pulsed combustion devices. While it is appreciated that in any area dealing with combustion it is really not possible to precisely say exactly what is occurring, nevertheless based on observations of burner 10 in operation and certain measurement therefrom, the operation of burner 10 in conventional, accepted terminology is set forth below.

In its "at rest" condition, combustion air fills combustion chamber 18 because reeds 40 do not positively seal inlet openings 38 in the absence of combustion chamber pressure. Spark plug 44 is actuated and a spark develops at stabilizing rod 48 which spark remains on during the entire time burner 10 is operated. (While spark plug 44 could be fired intermittently, it is believed that the life of spark plug 44 would be several years if constantly operated during burner operation. Because of the cycle times and the cooling of combustion chamber 18, burner 10 is not self-igniting, at least not for residential applications.) Valve 62 is actuated by solenoids 64, 65 and inject through gas tube 52 a fixed volume of gas at a constant or metered flow rate. The combustion air within combustion chamber 18 is stationary. When the gas leaves gas tube 52 it is travelling at a sufficient velocity, force or momentum to drag some of the combustion air immediately therealong causing mixing therebetween. This mixture, which is initially only a partial amount, is directed over the sparking stabilizing rod 48 which initiates a volume combustion of fuel and air which will expand from the point of ignition, i.e. stabilizing rod 48, throughout the combustion volume as it is driven by the advancing mixing between the combustible gas and combustion air. By igniting the mixture, which is still in formation, a soft ignition is initiated which does not produce the sharp, loud noise of an explosion but which results in a soft puff which can be virtually noiseless. The flame front as shown in FIG. 4 thus starts or is propagated at the stabilizing rod 48 and spreads down the combustion chamber 18 as the combustible fuel and combustion air continue to mix, ignite and combust until such time as either the combustion air in the combustion chamber is all used up or at such time until the gas pulse or gas supply shuts off. The soft or noiseless ignition results because only a portion of the fuel and air have been mixed when ignition and combustion start to occur. It should be noted that the simultaneous mixing and combusting of fuel and air occurs in all continuous burners and in this sense, burner 10 can be viewed somewhat similar to that of continuous burners although in continuous burners the air and gas are both generally pressurized and reacted to cause the mixing. Accordingly, certain features used in continuous burners such as bluff bodies, maintenance of hot surfaces, multi-injection ports and swirling streams could, at least in theory, have some application to the present invention. However, a straight gas tube 52 with a properly sized fuel hole or nozzle located in proper spacing from spark plug 44 and specifically the orientation of stabilizing rod 48 with the spark plug electrode 45 positioned with respect to each other relative to combustion chamber 18 and gas outlet 53 has been found to be especially significant producing thorough combustion in a stabilized, consistent manner.

Now as a result of the combustion process, a fast rise in temperature and pressure is experienced inside combustion chamber 18. The temperature rise can be approximately calculated by calculating the adiabatic flame temperature and, by using Dalton's gas law, the pressure rise resulting from the rise in temperatures can be calculated. Dalton's law states that the pressure ratio between the highest combustion pressure and the atmospheric pressure is the same as the ratio of absolute temperature at the highest observed combustion temperature to the temperature of the combustion air prior to combustion, or ambient air temperature. Because of the difficulty of defining local temperatures and pressures in the described combustion process, mean values averaged over the combustion volume must be taken. This pressure ratio and the resulting thermal pressure rise calculated from minimum theoretical combustion temperatures can be as high as 7 which leads to a maximum pressure of 7 atmospheres at the peak of the combustion process. Actual observed values are somewhat lower due to the cooling of combustion gases during combustion, due to leaks at either end of the combustion chamber, and due to the fact that optimum combustion does not always take place at stoichiometric conditions but rather under slightly excess air for fuel-lean conditions. However, a forceful pressure pulse is created which can be harnessed and can be used to increase heat transfer, to lower NOx emissions, and to induce self-aspiration. Heat transfer is increased by the continuously accelerating and decelerating nature of the flow of hot combustion gases in contact with the heat transfer surfaces. As a result, boundary layer formation is impeded and secondary flows inside the boundary layer are induced. The results of these added influences can be measured as improved heat transfer fluxes which are higher than those calculated with conventional heat transfer relationships based on average flow conditions and gas properties. NOx emissions are reduced due to the extreme short times at which the combustion gases are at elevated pressures. Self-aspiration can be accomplished by providing a fast acting check valve or flapper valve, i.e. reeds 40, in the air inlet to the combustion chamber and providing either a high flow resistance or another check valve, i.e. 16, at the exit of the combustion apparatus. As the pressure is raised inside the combustion chamber, it can only relieve itself at the exhaust end. As the gases are cooled, the exhaust resistance is significantly larger than the entrance resistance which causes combustion air to be emitted preferentially into combustion chamber 18. The combustion chamber and heat transfer can be designed such that virtually clean combustion air is drawn into combustion chamber 18. In summary, burner 10 has some characteristics not entirely dissimilar to pulse combustion devices. The combustion of the gas and fuel over the pulse time limits (to be discussed below) create a surprisingly high pressure pulse at temperatures, believed somewhat higher than that produced in continuous burners. The pressure pulse resulting from the combustion enables burner 10 to be self-aspirating, and, as explained below, to also operate as a pump for enhanced system applications. One-way inlet valves combined also with a one-way exhaust valve are then utilized and inherently synchronized with the gas driven pulsations. Thus, a combustion system is produced where only the fuel is pulsed with electric or pneumatically actuated valves to cause a soft, quiet ignition which is very stable and consistent while at the same time generating the high temperatures and pressure pulses similar to that produced in pulse combustion systems (although perhaps not at the same high temperatures and pressures developed in those systems) which have been found sufficient to produce the self-aspiration needed to sustain the process without external blowers, fans, etc., and which is also sufficient to use in other system applications.

The periodic operation of burner 10 may also be viewed to be similar to the pulse combustion cycle of the prior art shown in FIG. 1d. Actually, burner 10 could be viewed as having a cycle with a combustion stroke during which the pressure rises, an exhaust stroke where the products of combustion are ejected from the combustion chamber because the pressure from the combustion stroke which then results in a pressure drop causing combustion air to be admitted in the intake stroke. Fuel is then admitted to cause the combustion stroke, etc. Unlike pulse combustion, the strokes are externally regulated in a variable timed manner to produce soft ignition while retaining a pressure rise (and drop) and temperature increase, perhaps less than that achieved in pulse combustion systems, but certainly great enough to achieve the commercial objectives of the invention. As discussed above, the soft ignition is achieved by means of a free-standing gas jet which operates over a fixed, timed period and which is so sized to cause progressive entrainment and mixing of the combustible gaseous fuel with combustion air which (unlike continuous burner applications) is in an essentially quiescent or at rest state. That is the air which is drawn into the combustion chamber is essentially stationary when the fuel jet is activated, or if the combustion air is still moving, it is not moving with any momentum sufficient to interfere with the gas jet. The timing of the off cycle insures this. The invention is thus retaining certain aspects of the pulse combustion principle but modifying the combustion time and the time at which the combustion stroke occurs to produce a significant development in the burner art.

Unlike continuous burner applications, burner 10 is characterized by extremely high turndown ratios which can approach 50:1. As noted in the discussion above, pulse combustion devices have virtually no turndown ratio. This turndown ratio can be appreciated when it is realized that in addition to properly sizing the combustion chamber volume and the heat exchanger surface, several other considerations are of critical importance to the operation of burner 10. This is best accomplished by solenoid timers 64, 65 which inject a metered amount of combustible gas upon each actuation. As discussed, this can also be achieved by a simple solenoid valve although any other timing device can be used. The time solenoid valves 64, 65 keep open fuel line 52 is the fuel injection time. This time must be properly chosen to insure proper operation of burner 10. The selection criteria is determined by the volume of the combustion chamber and by the frequency at which the valve 62 is operated. For example, if the frequency of combustion is 10 Hertz (i.e. the thermally pulsed combustion pulses ten times per second), then the air flow into the combustion chamber is about 36,000 (sixty seconds per minute times 60 minutes per hour to produce standard cubic feet per hour) multiplied by ten (the number of cycles) multiplied by the chamber volume. For a combustion chamber 18 with a volume of 0.025 cubic feet (43 cubic inches) the air flow will be 9,000 SCFH. This requires an injection of 90 SCFH of methane or 36 SCFH of propane to achieve stoichiometric combustion. The fuel injection must be accomplished at a rate of 3,600 times ten cycles. The time available for injection is determined by the time available for each fuel pulse. This time is based on the time which is left after the time necessary for aspiration has been allocated. For instance, with a pulsing rate of 10 Hertz, 100 milliseconds are available for aspiration and injection. If 60 milliseconds are needed for aspiration, then 40 milliseconds remain for fuel injection. The time available for fuel injection is, therefore, mathematically solely dependant on the ratio of time for injection in comparison to total cycle time. In the example discussed, this ratio is 40 percent. The total fuel injection time therefore is also 40 percent. The total fuel input must be accomplished in 40 percent of the overall operation time. Fuel flow rate must be determined from this ratio in the overall intended fuel input. At the same time, in the operation of the burner, a relatively high fuel flow momentum is advantageous and necessary because it promotes mixing. The fuel burst which lasts 40 milliseconds in the example discussed must carry enough mixing energy to mix with the combustion air which is at relative rest when the fuel is being injected.

Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, heat input control is achieved by two pulse timers 64, 65. As already noted, one timer 64 determines the actuation of the valve and the other timer 65 determines the deactivation of the valve. That is, one timer determines how long the fuel is shut off and the other how long the fuel is turned on. In actual operation, it is contemplated that only the off time will be monitored and the one time will be fixed or constant. This is perhaps best illustrated in FIG. 5. In the graphs shown in FIG. 5, the x axis represents the time and the y axis represents the pressure of the gas in gas tube 52. In FIG. 5A, a series of regularly repeating pulses 70 are shown with each pulse representing the time that combustible gas is fed to combustion chamber 18 at a constant pressure. In FIG. 5A, a steady state operating condition at optimum process time is shown. Each pulse is on a constant time period T0 and off for a constant time period T1. One cycle, from the discussion above, equals T0 plus T1 and for the prototype discussed above, excellent operating characteristics were observed at 8 cycles per second, i.e. 8 Hz and such characteristics continued over the range of approximately 3 to about 15 Hz. However, the invention should operate without any adverse results anywhere from about 1 cycle per second to about 30 cycles per second. As a point of reference, for distinction, pulsed continuous burners operate with as short a cycle as about once every three seconds and pulsed combustion devices operate at about 50 to 60 cycles to second although in some instances operation has been reported in the neighborhood of 40 or so cycles per second.

As noted, the height of pulse 70 represents the pressure within gas tube 52 and that pressure must be sufficient to cause mixing of the stagnated combustion air within combustion chamber 18 with a sufficient momentum to assure continuous mixing and combustion as the flame front propagates from stabilizing rod 48. The T0 and T1 time intervals are determined in the manner described above. The area contained by each pulse 70 can be viewed as the total volume or mass of the combustible gas injected into combustion chamber 18 and this volume of combustible gas must be in the appropriate proportion to the volume of combustion air within the combustion chamber to at least achieve stoichiometric combustion and perhaps slightly less to achieve lean or excess air operation. Thus, the width or the T0 of each pulse 70 is critical to the efficient operation of the device if rich operating conditions and subsequent sooting are to be avoided. On the other hand, the off time T1 is not critical so long as the size of combustion air openings 38 is such to permit a sufficient volume of air to be drawn into and fill the combustion chamber 18 during the self-aspirating mode of the combustion cycle. As a point of reference, FIG. 5A shows the burner operating at "on" time T0 which is equal to that needed to achieve stoichiometric combustion and at an "off" time T1 which is the minimum time needed to fill combustion chamber 18 with quiescent air. As discussed, the fastest cycles for this to be accomplished could be as high as 30 Hz but as a practical limit, more like 15 Hz. So long as the minimum T1 time is met, the off time can be extended to any duration. This is shown in FIG. 5B where the off time T1 in FIG. 5A becomes a variable Tv and by this approach any turndown ratio can be achieved. That is, burner 10 could cycle in the multi-second range, but as a practical limit, the heat output at such range would be significantly reduced so that as a practical limit Tv is set to limit the burner to 0.3 Hz operation. As an arbitrary maximum practical value, the turndown ratio as high as 50:1 is specified. FIG. 5B represents the preferred embodiment of the invention in commercial form and is the reason why only one timed period, the off period, is controlled by the timer.

In FIG. 5C, the time of the on pulse T0 is varied, i.e. Tv to be less than T0. That is, it is also possible to operate burner 10 in the manner shown in FIG. 5C to achieve a high turndown ratio. However, not all the combustion air within combustion chamber 18 will be combusted and a very lean or, alternatively stated, excess air condition will result. Obviously, the pressure of the combustion pulse developed when operating the burner in accordance with FIG. 5C will be less than what is otherwise possible. However, FIG. 5C is shown to demonstrate that it is possible to operate burner 10 under these conditions and, of course then, it is possible to operate burner 10 by varying both the time on-cycle to be less than T0 and time off-cycle to be greater than T1 assuming, for a given burner design, that T0 represents the exact time where stoichiometric combustion will result and T1 represents the minimum time needed to fill combustion chamber 18 with quiescent combustion air.

Referring now to FIG. 11, there is shown an actual graph of the pressure pulses generated in a burner 10 having a single orifice 58. A pressure transducer (having a sensitivity of 500 hz) was applied to the pulse line and its millivolt output correlated to pressure vis-a-vis a standard U-type manometer. Thus, the graph shown in FIG. 11 plots time in seconds on the x axis versus pressure on the y axis. As a correlation basis dash line 250 indicates approximately a pulse pressure of 45" water column which is a significant pressure rise for a device of the size disclosed herein. A 2 hz cycle was used with the solenoids timed so that fuel was admitted for 0.10 seconds and off for 0.40 seconds. Now from the discussion above, fuel is admitted as a jet stream into combustion chamber 18. As the fuel is admitted, it entrains, because it is a jet, a certain amount of the combustion air. A portion of that combustion air entrained with a portion of the fuel jet must be at a precise mixture when it is ignited to achieve combustion in a noiseless manner and also to achieve thorough combustion at stoichiometric or slightly excess air conditions to produce products of combustion which do not have combustibles or other pollutants which might otherwise be present to achieve energy savings and pollution objectives.

In further explanation of the graphs of FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C, when the fuel cycle is started, the combustion does not occur until the fuel (with the entrained air) reaches spark electrode 45. For the distance under discussion for FIG. 4A, with a gas pressure of 5 psi, the orifice opening 228 will generate an exit velocity jet travelling at 38,500 fpm which will reach the spark electrode in about 0.78 milliseconds: ##EQU1## At this point, the combustion will start and rise rapidly to produce the peak pulse shown in FIG. 11 whereat the fuel timed cycle is shut off and combustion chamber 18 cools resulting in a drop of pressure, etc. This is diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 11 for one cycle by the time line T2 which indicates, approximately the start of fuel injection. Time line T3 indicates approximately the end of fuel injection and the beginning of the time delay cycle and time line T4 indicates approximately the end of time delay and the beginning of fuel injection for the next timed cycle. There is a variation within each timed cycle as to point or time at which each pressure pulse is produced. This is attributed to variation in jet speed and to some extent the cool down rate variation of combustion chamber 18. The time off cycle (T2 to T3) must be long enough for combustion chamber 18 to cool down and the daisy valve 200 to open to admit completion air into combustion chamber 18. It is to be noted that slight variations of pressure at the zero point during the exhaust of the products of combustion show that a slight negative pressure (about 0.1" W.C.) is produced in combustion chamber 18 and this has been found sufficient to keep daisy valve 220 of FIG. 10 open.

With an understanding of FIG. 11, the spider gas distributor 220 of the present invention may be better explained. For a given output burner 10 using one jet orifice 53, the jet must be sized large enough to produce the given heat output and this large jet must entrain a certain precise amount of combustion air by the time it reaches spark electrode 45. For this to occur, the large jet must travel a longer distance than that of the arrangement using gas distributor 220 (say 18" instead of 6"). This increases the delay time from 78 milliseconds upwards to some higher number and should there be variations in jet speed from cycle to cycle, a louder noise because of the mixture variation will occur. Thus, when burner 10 is increased in size, it becomes more difficult to control the combustion process with a single fuel jet. The same burner output can be achieved by using multiple smaller or finer jets in an arrangement such as gas distributor 220 which cumulatively equal the fuel output of a single large jet but which, because of their position within combustion chamber 18, can more readily entrain combustion air from within the chamber to achieve the desired mixture in a shorter distance (and accordingly a shorter time). Stated another way, multiple jets within the chamber can cumulatively entrain portions of combustion air from various areas within combustion chamber 18 more quickly than a large central jet which must pull the combustion air to the center of the chamber. Inherently, the shorter time period equates to a more accurate mixture. Importantly, by directing the jets from a ring concentric with centerline 26 so that the mixed streams collide at the point of ignition, a precise mixture of fuel/air is assured to produce a noiseless ignition. Furthermore, it should now be obvious to those skilled in the art that to achieve optimum results, the plurality of nozzles 225 could be replaced by a single, angularly orientated, circular jet concentric with centerline 26 which could direct a freely expanding cone fuel jet to the point of ignition. Stated another way, the spider gas distributor 220 assures a precise way to develop a specific fuel-air mixture at the ignition point and this in turn assures a noiseless ignition or "explosion" while at the same time producing combustion at optimum conditions resulting in energy efficiency while minimizing pollution.

SYSTEM OPERATION

Generally, the structure of burner 10 has been described in FIGS. 2 and 3 and its method of operations has been described with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5. Also, the use of burner 10 in conventional, residential hot water heating systems has been briefly discussed with reference to FIG. 3. The schematic of a self-contained burner unit with a specific system design for burner 10 is shown in FIG. 6. More specifically, the system shown in FIG. 6 has been developed for a marine application and specifically for use on sailing vessels and large motor powered ships having sleeping accommodations. Presently, such vessels are generally heated by electric heating units which heat a hydronic fluid. Fans and pumps are used in combination with various types of heat exchangers to pump the hydronic fluid in a closed loop so that hot water and heat can be provided in the vessel. When the vessel is docked, electricity from the dock is used to provide the heat. Away from the dock, a separate fuel powered generator must be operated. The generator is expensive and special precautions must be taken in the mounting of the generator which must be above board to avoid fumes which could lead to explosion, fire, etc. Because of safety regulations for vessels developed to prevent fire and explosion, bottled propane gas such as used in mobile RV recreational vehicles has not heretofore been used to heat sailing vessels and the like.

In the system shown in FIG. 6, like reference numerals will be used to designate the same parts and components of burner 10 as previously described. Combustion chamber 18 is housed by means of flange 28 within a sealed container 80 which is completely filled with a suitable hydronic fluid such as water and glycol. Secured to the other side of flange 28 is an airtight container 81 which contains feed chamber 19, end plate 20, solenoid 64 and a gas line 84 connected to a source of bottled gas (not shown). A fitting 85 communicates with the interior of airtight container 81 and secured to fitting 85 is an air line (not shown) which also contains gas line 84. The air and gas lines are plumbed through the vessel's deck structure to the outside air. In the event any leak develops, the fumes would be ported outside the vessel and would not collect within the hull to form a potentially explosive mixture. Burner 10 is similar to that described in FIG. 3 and the off-center location of exhaust opening 25 should be noted since its position within closed end 23 with respect to the operation of burner 10 is not critical. The exhaust path for the products of combustion is, as shown by the arrows in FIG. 6, through exhaust opening 25, through coils 13, past reduced exhaust opening 245 and finally through a threaded exhaust port 87 in sealed container 80. An appropriate exhaust line (not shown) similarly vents the products of combustion through the vessel's hull to atmosphere. The entire unit is thus self-contained and is simply bolted into position.

In feed chamber 19 a pulse opening 89 situated approximately midway between the ignition point in combustion chamber 18 and gas orifice 53 is drilled and tapped. A pulse line 90 is then fitted to pulse opening 89 at one end thereof and is connected to an inlet stand pipe 92. A temperature and pressure relief valve 93 is provided for inlet stand pipe 92. Inlet stand pipe 92 communicates with the interior of sealed container 80 and an outlet stand pipe 95 also communicates with the interior of sealed container 80. In inlet stand pipe 92, a column of hydronic fluid is provided beneath the point where gas pressure is introduced from pulse line 90 for dampening purposes. In outlet stand pipe 95 a riser column is provided for dampening in accordance with conventional practice. Outlet stand pipe 95 is also in fluid communication with heaters 97 or heat exchange devices which are conventional. Check valves 98, 99 insure that the heated hydronic fluid travels in the direction of the arrows shown in FIG. 7. A return inlet 100 in sealed container 80 completes the return path.

It has been found that a significant pressure is developed through pulse opening 89 when the pressure wave is developed in combustion chamber 18 as the combustible gas and combustion air are ignited and combusted during the T0 time period. For the small prototype burner having the dimensions noted for FIG. 4, a pressure of 10 inches W.C. was consistently observed in inlet stand pipe 92. It was also noted that during the intake stroke when an under pressure was developed in combustion chamber 18 to draw combustion air into combustion chamber 18, a pressure was also observed in pulse line 90. Thus, for each burner cycle two pulses were generated on the column of hydronic fluid contained in inlet stand pipe 92 which resulted in considerable flow of hydronic fluid through the system. A flow rate of about 30 GPH was observed for the prototype unit operating at a cycle of 10 Hz. Because of the pressure dampening effects of inlet and outlet stand pipes 92, 95 coupled with the relatively high number of pressure pulses in pulse line 90, little, if any, shock is imparted to the system and, surprisingly, an almost constant flow of hydronic fluid occurs throughout the system. This dampening--constant high flow rate means the system is entirely self-contained and significantly broadens its application for the residential, home heating market. For example, it can be easily inserted into hot water home heating systems or it can be easily substituted into conventional electric heat pumps. It can also function effectively as a gas powered air conditioning unit which would not necessarily need compressor and pumps for the refrigerant.

In all fuel fired burner systems, a valve train arrangement must be employed to insure that gas is not admitted to the burner when, for whatever reason, the gas/air mixture is not being ignited or combusted. The flame supervision systems can take a variety of valve train forms coupled with a sensor to measure the flame. Because my burner 10 generates a pressure pulse the first time a cycle produces a combustion, and because the pressure pulse is tapped at line 89, it has been determined that a simple pressure sensing device 270 can be teed into line 90 for purposes of sensing whether a pulse has been produced. If a pulse is not produced within a given time period, gas solenoid 64 can be activated to shut off the gas supply thus avoiding the need for relatively expensive flame supervision devices. Pressure sensing devices are readily available and to connect the electrical output of the device to a timer circuit is within the skill of an ordinary artisan so pressure sensing device 270 will not be described in further detail herein.

An alternative construction of burner 10 other than that illustrated in FIG. 6 is shown in FIG. 7. As noted above, products of combustion of any fuel fired burner will produce water vapor. If the temperature within container 80 is above the dew point of water (130° F.) the water will remain as a vapor and simply be exhausted through outlet 245 along with the other gaseous products of combustion. Thus, during start-up of burner 10 and depending on the temperature at which the hydronic fluid is heated (for example, in a residential hot water application, cold water make-up may drop the temperature in the water jacket below 130° F.), water vapor will condense. This will necessitate positioning the FIG. 6 arrangement in a vertical position to prevent accumulation in coil 13 of water which could prevent the flue gas from being exhausted. The burner in FIG. 7 avoids the problem and permits application in a horizontal position.

This is achieved by a first plurality of L-shaped legs 280 having the short leg portion connected to an exhaust outlet 281 at the end of combustion chamber 18 and the long leg portion connected to an annular or more precisely torroidal shape manifold 283 circumscribing combustion chamber 18 and within container 80. There are a plurality of first L-shaped legs 280 and in FIG. 7 only a top first L-shaped leg 280a and a bottom first L-shaped leg 280b is illustrated. Also connected to annular or torroidal manifold 283 is a second plurality of longer length L-shaped legs 284. Second L-shaped legs 284 have their longer leg portions connected to annular manifold 283 and their shorter length leg portions connected to an outlet block 285 in fluid communication with reduced size exhaust orifice 245. In FIG. 7, only a top second L-shaped leg 284A and a bottom second L-shaped leg 284b is shown. The arrows drawn in FIG. 7 illustrate the direction of flue gas flow from combustion chamber 18. When the burner operates to produce water, the water will collect in the lower portion of manifold 283 and lower legs 280b while the gaseous flue products will exhaust through upper legs 280a and 284A and the upper portion of manifold 283. When the burner reaches operating temperature, the water collected in lower legs 280b and 284b and lower portion of manifold 283 will vaporize.

An alternative construction is to simply view opposing first legs 280a and 280b as a U-shaped tube with bight portions at the outlet and leg portions at the manifold. Similarly, second longer legs 284A and 284b could be viewed as a longer U-shaped tube with leg portions at the manifold and bight portion at the restricted exhaust outlet 245. A plurality of short and long U-shaped tubes would be provided.

The invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to those skilled in the art. For example, there are any number of industrial applications where the higher heat output of burner 10 can be effectively utilized with or without modification to combustion chamber 18 such as burner swirl noted above. There are also numerous industrial processes where the system pump features of the invention can be utilized with or without a closed recirculation loop. It is intended to include all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of my invention.

It is thus the essence of the invention to provide an improved hybrid type burner which regulates only the fuel supply in a pulsed manner to develop not only an improved burner but also a burner having unique thermally developed pump characteristics which permit unique system applications for the burner.

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Reference
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US5871346 *Jan 24, 1997Feb 16, 1999Eastman Kodak CompanyFlashlamp array venting structure
US5944502 *Sep 2, 1996Aug 31, 1999Lockheed Martin Tactical Systems U.K. LimitedWeapon stimulator
US6325616 *Apr 3, 2000Dec 4, 2001John D. ChatoPulsating combustion unit with interior having constant cross-section
US6430919Mar 2, 2000Aug 13, 2002Direct Propulsion Devices, Inc.Shaped charged engine
US6554607 *Sep 1, 2000Apr 29, 2003Georgia Tech Research CorporationCombustion-driven jet actuator
US8083494Jun 8, 2006Dec 27, 2011Gestion Serge Benjamin Inc.Pulse jet engine having an acoustically enhanced ejector system
US8402745 *May 3, 2005Mar 26, 2013William Anthony DennePulse jet engines
US20080209884 *May 3, 2005Sep 4, 2008William Anthony DennePulse Jet Engines
US20100043727 *Dec 13, 2007Feb 25, 2010Microgen Engine Corporation Holding B.V.Heating system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification431/1, 122/24, 431/2
International ClassificationF23C15/00
Cooperative ClassificationF23C15/00
European ClassificationF23C15/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 9, 2000FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20000225
Feb 27, 2000LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Sep 21, 1999REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Mar 1, 1995FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Sep 19, 1990ASAssignment
Owner name: INDUGAS, INC., OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:HEMSATH, KLAUS H.;REEL/FRAME:005451/0926
Effective date: 19900918